The accolades just keep coming for former Weber State and current Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard. First there was the Rookie of the Year award. Then there were the Damian Lillard adidas commercials with Chris Webber and the Mailman himself, Karl Malone.
Not long after that, Lillard helped to lead his Blazers to their first playoff berth in over a decade--and then he hit a series-winning shot against the Houston Rockets to win a round by himself. Is there anything that Lillard can’t do?
Apparently not, because on Monday, July 14 USA Basketball named Lillard to its preliminary national team player pool, which includes several NBA stars you might know, such as Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward and Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Knowing Lillard, he’ll probably take it all in stride. But this announcement is potentially a big deal for him. The 2016 Olympics in Rio are less than two years away.
So, how players do at the US national team training camp in Las Vegas later this month will likely determine who has the fast track to secure a spot in Brazil.
That’s an awfully long way from Ogden, Utah and Weber State men's basketball for Lillard, who first burst onto the scene after impressing NBA scouts at a pre-draft camp.
From that point on, Lillard has quickly ascended the highly competitive ranks of the NBA. He was selected as a lottery pick by Portland--and now he’s looking at reaching the pinnacle of any basketball player’s career with a spot on the national team.
In all, 19 players were selected to the U.S. pool, from which U.S. head coach Mike Krzyzewski will select his final team once tryouts and roster cuts are completed. The national team from which Coach K has selected will also play in the FIBA World Cup basketball tournament later this summer.